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How It Works: Katy ISD Apps and Technology

KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

August 21, 2018

Natalie Cook Clark

One week into school and everyone is trying to adjust to new routines. With a new school year comes the need to stay informed, communicate and organize. Katy ISD gives us easy access to all of those things and sometimes it’s just at our fingertips.

 

While it’s all designed to make your life easier it’s important to know your app and tech options. Technology is engrained in our lives. Smart boards assist teachers of our youngest students. While parents recall their school days of heavy, book-filled backpacks, their children access textbooks through websites or Ipads. It’s part of their school experience. Now parents and students can use district run apps and technology programs to stay informed, communicate and organize their educational experience.

HAC- Home Access Center

Who: Every parent with a child in Katy ISD is given an access code and password to their Home Access Center at enrollment.

Here you can view everything about your students KISD experience from teachers, schedules, grades, attendance, and more.

“It’s a system of record and is designed to be a parent’s one stop shop for all their information needs,” explains Kerry Rampelli, Director of Enterprise Systems. This page follows you throughout your KISD journey.

HAC is also updated in real time where the app is updated nightly. This is important to know as older students (or parents) may be anxious to get test scores.

Katy OnTheGo App

Who: Everyone with access to HAC.

This application is everything from the Home Access Center (and more) at your fingertips. From news, calendars, menus, bus routes, the new Bullying Tip Line and everything you had at HAC this app is a must for your smart phone.

“The app has many pieces and can easily be added to based on our needs such as the addition of the Bullying Tip Line this year,” says Maria DiPetta, Manager, Media Relations and Multimedia.

Learn more about how KISD is using technology to report bullying in their new campaign. 

Canvas

Who: Differs based on grade level and campus. All junior high and high schools are using it to some degree. Elementary schools have access to it but only 3rd-5th use it and at some campuses.

Canvas is a learning management system that is accessed through a website and the canvas app. The link is accessed through your HAC page or your instructure, the Canvas software login.  

This a great tool where teachers can post assignments, set to do lists and so much more.

When grading assignments, teachers can grade and post work but with this they can also record comments in audio and video. Teachers can also share a video of them doing a math problem so that students can easily refer to it at home and so parents can better understand the work too.

“Students like it because it gives them a to-do list,” says Darlene Rankin, Instructional Technology Director.  “Students (and parents) can set push notifications for reminders based on when and how (email, text) they want to be reminded about assignments.”

This makes remembering assignments easy after long rehearsals, practice, etc. It’s never been so easy to not forget your homework!

Naviance: Career and College Planning Tools

Who: 6th grade-12th grade

Naviance is an application that evolves with it’s service based on your grade. It inventories your interests and skills and identifies where those area overlap. With this and more information, it helps students with college prep by finding a school and scholarships.

“This really helps our counselors to comb through a bunch of things and help students find what they are looking for,” said Christy Maeker, Director of Counseling Services. The program is tailored and controled by the student. Parents have access but it’s read-only.

 “It really helps us to empower students to see what their future look like,” says Stacie Zimmerman, Counseling Specialist. Each campus varies in how this is introduced but junior highs cover it in social studies and in high school it is discussed in english.

Another great feature to Naviance is that graduated seniors can still have access to it and refer back to lists and interests to help them continue towards a successful future.

What about…

Now these are all the district run applications and resources. There are a lot or resources out there designed to help education communication. Some teachers or programs may use resources such as SeeSaw. Most of the fine arts programs use an application called Charms that helps students and parents stay informed on the many parts of those programs. We are now at the time of year where parents are having their curriculum nights are schools so when applications or sites are introduced, ask your questions and get ready for this academic year.

My Katy: Single Sign-on Environment

To make our lives even easier, Katy ISD gives us one place to sign on and access all of our district applications and educational resources with My Katy. So this isn’t like our social media headache where we have so many passwords to keep up with. In one login we can access all the tools we need to stay informed, communicate and organize…and with a few clicks we’re on our way to a successful academic year.

Which is your favorite application or site? Let us know in the comments.

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